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How Life Works: The Inside Word from a Biochemist

Popular Science

By: William "Bill" Elliott(Author), Daphne C Elliott(Author)

176 pages, colour & b/w illustrations


Paperback | Aug 2015 | #225143 | ISBN-13: 9781486300471
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £20.95 $27/€24 approx

About this book

Complete with colour illustrations and written in a conversational style, biochemist William Elliott unravels the mystery of life while revealing its majesty. How do chemical reactions occur? How do genes hold information? Why do our bodies age? What happens when someone gets cancer? How Life Works provides the inside word for those who are curious about the workings of the microscopic world inside us.

Biochemistry not only explains what DNA is and how it forms the blueprint for who you are, it also explains how the food you eat is broken down, supplying the energy to run a marathon. It shows the intricate structures of proteins and describes their amazing functions. With millions of interactions and reactions all taking place in accord, biochemistry is the science of how life works.

In the words of the contemporary artist Damien Hirst on why biochemistry is interesting: "If you think life is boring, buy a microscope, it's just amazing!" (Observer newspaper, 2000).



1 The Fantastic Nature of Matter
2 The Problem of How to Supply Energy to Living Processes
3 Enzymes Bring About the Reactions of Life
4 Proteins: The Wonder Molecules of Life
5 The Genetic Problem and DNA
6 Deciphering the Genetic Code
7 The Life and Death of Cells
8 The Origin of Life


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William (Bill) Elliott was a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences and Head of Biochemistry at The University of Adelaide, Australia for 23 years. In 1982 his department was awarded the Australian Government's first Centre of Excellence, for research devoted to gene technology. In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and science in molecular biosciences. At The University of Adelaide, Australia, his legacy and achievements are celebrated annually by the W.H. Elliott lecture and a research fellowship in his name. Bill passed away in 2012, and the book was subsequently prepared for publication by his wife Daphne.

Daphne Elliott is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University, Australia. She was awarded the Chancellor's Medal in 1994 for her contribution to the education of women in Science and Mathematics and served as Federal President of the Australian Federation of University Women. In 2002, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the promotion of women's education and as an advocate for improving the status and human rights of women.

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